The Benefits of Deprescribing
Last updated: April 2023
Recently, I read an article about deprescribing.1 At first I found it a little confusing. What is “deprescribing?” Turns out I know how deprescribing works, I just didn’t call it that.
What is deprescribing?
Deprescribing is the result of doing a prescription review. A prescription review is where you and your healthcare provider, most likely your doctor, take the time to review all of the medicines you take on a regular basis, both prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. Then you make any needed changes to your meds. It’s a good idea to do this kind of review regularly, every year or two.
Benefits of deprescribing
It’s been about a year since I went through my last prescription review. At the end of that review, my doctor and I agreed to make some changes to my medications, reducing the number of pills I take daily. It might sound like a small change, but I really felt the benefits.
Firstly, I saved some money. This was probably the most obvious benefit. Buying fewer prescriptions costs less. While you can’t expect prescriptions to be eliminated at every review, this is a benefit everyone can appreciate.
Secondly, I gained some peace of mind. Now I know that the combination of medications I’m taking is safe. This review removed worries about harmful combinations of medications. Also, I’m certain that I’m taking my medications at the right time of day and in the correct way.
Finally, deprescribing lightened my daily mental load. Now I have one less thing to manage in my daily self-care routine. It’s one less thing to think about, to plan for, to get done. It’s a little bit freeing. That’s something that doesn’t happen often in life with type 2 diabetes.
Ask your doctor for a prescription review
Over time, the number of medications you’re taking can really add up. This especially can happen when you see different doctors for different health concerns. One doctor prescribes one thing. Another prescribes another. If no one is looking at the overall picture the number of prescriptions just grows and grows.
If it’s been a while since anyone has reviewed your prescriptions with you, or if you’ve never done one, ask your doctor about doing a prescription review.
With a prescription review you and your doctor make sure that you still need all the different medicines you’re taking regularly. It’s also an opportunity to confirm that all of your medications work when taken together and none of the combinations cause unsafe reactions. This is really important when you take both prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any over-the-counter medicines, like baby aspirin as a blood thinner.
Be sure to ask questions. You want to understand what each medicine does and make sure you’re taking it correctly. Let your healthcare provider know about any side effects or discomforts you’re experiencing. Maybe there’s a different medication you can use that will reduce or eliminate these discomforts. Also, let your healthcare provider know if the cost of your medications is a problem. Maybe there are less expensive medications you can use instead.
Going through a prescription review every year or two is a good practice. It will give you and your healthcare provider an opportunity to make any needed adjustments to your medications. You will certainly feel the benefits that come from the increased peace of mind. And you might even save a bit of money.
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